Vintage Mustang Forums banner

The 15" Tire "What is left that's actually good???" Thread

10457 Views 176 Replies 49 Participants Last post by  Fred289
One of my older threads kind of started in with this, and I thought it better to move to a new thread since the old thread was actually supposed to be about 17" wheels.

So here it is - a thread dedicated to people giving input on the BEST 15" TIRES STILL AVAILABLE AS OF NOW IN 2022.

Let's face it, 15" tires are getting pretty scarce, especially the good ones. Almost every tire is fine for just putt-putting around, but very few are truly good for bailing you out in a hairy situation, and the number is dwindling. So, let's talk about them.

This is not a place for "well they haven't blown up yet, and they are fine for getting ice cream five times a year at 35 MPH or less" tires. This is not a place for "well ten years ago they made these amazing tires and I'm still running them even though they've been discontinued for 10 years" tires. This is a place for us to compare tires that are truly good for driving (street or mild track, wet/dry weather, corner carving, etc.) - or, weigh in if you've tried some absolutely awful tires that you need to warn people away from!

I will start with my data. My car, Jane, a 1966 Fastback. I have tried three tires. I will list their relevant specs, and what I thought of them.

Wheels: 15x6" Wheel Vintiques Styled Steel Wheels, 4.25 backspacing

1) BFG Radial T/A. Absolutely the worst and I'm not even going to put its specs here because no one should have these tires unless they are truly only putt-putting around in low-traffic areas.

2) Firestone Indy 500 Firehawk. Used 2011-2022. DISCONTINUED (which is why I've got this thread going now, actually)
Tire, SizeUTQGLSpeed/LoadRim Width Range "Meas. Rim Width "Section Width "Tread Width "
Firestone Indy 500 Firehawk, 215/65/15500AB95S6.0- (can't find spec)

Feedback: I truly loved these tires. They were very comfortable rides, always confidence-inspiring. They would get a little squeaky on sharp corners but never let go. Never darted or followed imperfections in the road. Wore surprisingly quickly, and got about 40,000 miles out of them, which I didn't really consider to be that bad. Pretty decent in the rain although they would skate in very deep puddles. I took them through the worst monsoons I've ever driven through and they didn't let me down so I have to say I was happy with them. Cosmetically, they were also great, nice donut shape on the narrower wheel (how I prefer it), RWL were great. But alas, they are discontinued. Therefore, they are only included here for a comparison point as a tire that I was happy with.

3) Cooper Cobra Radial T/As. Used 2022-present.
Tire, SizeUTQGLSpeed/LoadRim Width Range "Meas. Rim Width "Section Width "Tread Width "
Cooper Cobra Radial T/A, 215/65/15440AB95T6.0-

Feedback: I put these tires on in October 2022, and took them to Big Bend for a week (2000 mile round trip). They were... okay. They do not feel planted the way the Firehawks did, although they did seem to break in a little bit and were better on the drive home than the drive out. They may get better with wear but considering that the average vintage car owner rarely puts a thousand miles on their car in a year, it bothers me that these tires (which are geared towards classic cars) should need so much of a break-in period. They are bouncy feeling and tend to wander, especially over uneven surfaces or in high wind. No feedback on rain yet. I'm surprised because the treadwear rating should seem to indicate that they are stickier, but they really don't feel that way. They also run noticeably smaller than the Firehawks (although it might be that the Firehawks actually ran large). Still, they are probably the best for RWL tires that can be acquired at any of the major tire shops.

Okay, so that's what I've got so far to contribute - not really that much considering one tire is hated, and one has been discontinued, leaving me with only one actual contribution! Lol. But that's where you guys come in.

Next post from me will be a list of interesting 15" tires I've found, and I'd really like to hear feedback from anyone who's tried them - or if you have other tires to throw into the fray, please do!

(I also know that Zray is going to chip in with a plug for the extraordinarily expensive Avons, and he should know that they are no longer listed for sale by Avon in the US)
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 5
1 - 8 of 177 Posts
I have been running BFG radial T/A 215/60r15s on my 65, they're approaching the 10 year mark as we speak. I think they've been decent tires and there is still a fair amount of tread left!

Trying to understand the hate on this thread regarding them, however.

Gonna go to Discount after the new year and look at some of the other recommendations listed on this thread. But if I can't turn the raised white letters OR ridiculously decorated sidewalls inward and have a nice clean sidewall, I suspect I'll end up with another set of BFGs. The choices are slim now and I'm guessing in 10 years I'll have to buy whatever Coker is peddling.

I can tell you from my experience with the 22k mile, nearly 10 year old BFGs that they're pretty darn good for day to day cruising. I avoid rain whenever possible, but have no major complaints during the handful of unexpected rain encounters over the last 10 years.

Discount Tire makes ownership easy. Flat repair, rotation and balancing are included with their certificates. I've never had a flat, but have rotated and balanced them at least 4 times over the years, all on their dime.

My 2 cents.


Wheel Tire Vehicle Car Plant
See less See more
  • Like
Reactions: 2
Looks like those are RT43's by the tread design? AltiMAX™ RT43 ; I wonder if both sides look the same? 600 AB - 215 sizes are T rated; 600 AA - 225 is H rated.

They were replaced by the RT-45 in General's lineup in 2022. AltiMAX™ RT45 says it's available in Outlined White Letter (OWL) and Black Sidewall (BSW) but doesn't specify if that's in all sizes and no pics of the OWL I can find.
Overview review of the R45
Sidewall is much too busy for my taste. Why do they feel the need for the billboard avertising?
Tire Wheel Automotive tire Hubcap Tread
See less See more
You pretty much nailed it on the second part of your post. Free advertising for them after you paid for the tires. Just like when dealerships rivet their nameplate onto a vehicle.
Unless you can mount the tire with the (back) black wall side showing and see a nice plain tire, I'm not interested. I tried the raised white letters showing, but as soon as the new white letters got their first roadrash I had them all flipped around. The BFGs are non-directional so you can do whatever you want. Simple and clean. I'm 80% sure another set of BFGs will fit the bill perfectly next month when these time out at 10 years.
Tire Car Wheel Vehicle Motor vehicle
See less See more
Have ya thought of sanding them down flush?
I have not.

To clarify, the BFGs have minimal "billboard" design on the T/As, making them an easy choice. The General Tire mentioned above has too much going on.

As for sanding the sidewall, not sure I want to buy a new set of tires and experiment on them. Also, not sure if that would nullify the tire warranty.

it’s the 20% (apparently) not “sure” of fitting the bill that is concerning…..


The 20% chance of not buying another set of BFGs, would be a tire that:

Has a plane jane sidewall,
Is superior to the BFGs,
Within the price range of the BFGs
Made in America

I really like my BFGs, but merely suggest that I'm open to purchasing something else if it meets my above criteria.

  • Like
Reactions: 1
The back side is also blackwall, haven't seen any of these that are RWL or OWL.
I realize the other side isn't a white wall, but am wondering if it is a non-bilboard, plain old boring sidewall that could be installed facing out. Or did they do the fancy stuff on both sides.
  • Like
Reactions: 1
According to TR you can remove the BFG from your list then, 95% of sizes made in MX:
View attachment 873672

Is superior to the BFGs, (not difficult at all)
Within the price range of the BFGs (most are <$)
I see a new tire brand in your future ;)
You are correct, I found the same information last night! May have to ammend my criteria to made in North America! lol

My current set was made in the Tuscaloosa plant in 2013.
Font Terrestrial plant Technology Darkness Number

The search continues!

See less See more
1 - 8 of 177 Posts